My Journey Back into Magazine Publishing: Crowfoot Media

It was November, 2007. I had quit my job in the Rockies two months before but hung around Banff to attend that year’s Banff Mountain Film Festival. It was my first time at the festival, and the experience left me nearly shaking with excitement. These mountains are just dripping with juicy stories, tales of adventure, and incredible people who manage to stay under the radar.

On that day in November, I sat at Second Cup in Banff and wrote out the outline for a local magazine that would bring these stories to life. Soon thereafter, I moved back to Ontario for the winter. Upon my return to the Rockies the following spring, I got sidetracked by the challenges of making a living here, and didn’t pursue the magazine. I wish I still had that napkin covered in coffee stains and chicken scratch because that moment is imprinted vividly in my brain.

In the interim years since that rough magazine outline, I have had the privilege of working with a number of mountain culture publications and organizations. A few, in particular, stand out. Interning with Alpinist Magazine in 2010 was the turning point in my writing career. Contributing to Highline Magazine as a writer and editor for six years sharpened my tools, fostered meaningful relationships and exposed me to parts of this community I had never encountered before. Sitting on the Alpine Club of Canada’s Mountain Culture Committee has given me a window into the rich history of the club – one that deserves preservation through publications and other outlets.

Then I became a mother and my life as a freelance writer and editor took its turn on the back-burner. That was the way I wanted it. But, as my daughter grew up and gained more independence, I found myself growing a sense of independence, too. I felt myself wanting to return back to work. I also had this growing desire to go back behind the scenes of publishing. To be the publisher, not only the published.

As my time freed up to start working on a new project, I saw an opportunity to build a new mountain culture publication for the Canadian Rockies. This is where I wanted to dedicate my life’s work for the foreseeable future. And when the right partner came along (in this case, talented designer and brand strategist Dee Medcalf of Phaneric), the idea became reality.

That was seven months ago. And on March 16, 2015, we launched Crowfoot Media, a publishing house dedicated to the preservation, celebration and growth of mountain culture in the Canadian Rockies. We have a long road ahead, but the response so far has been uplifting and affirming. It feels right. I feel like I’m making my mark in the right place, at the right time, in the right way.

 

Crowfoot Media

 

I hope you’ll connect with us:

Thanks to everyone who has supported my journey to date. There are exciting things to come with Crowfoot Media – even if it’s scary at times to take on something as big as this.

Meghan

Valley Uprising Wins 2014 Banff Mountain Film Competition Grand Prize

Content courtesy The Banff Centre.

The greatest untold story of American counterculture is that of the Yosemite Valley rock climbers. For 50 years, Yosemite’s cliffs have drawn explorers to venture on the high, lonesome granite. Climbing greats like Royal Robbins, Yvon Chouinard and Tom Frost not only set new standards for climbing hard routes, they pioneered the “dirtbag” lifestyle. Part fact and part attitude, Sender Films takes us on a journey through the history of Yosemite right up to the present and shows why the big walls of this amazing place are still as coveted today as they were 50 years ago. Valley Uprising has won the Grand Prize at the 2014 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival.

“The mountain culture in which so many of us here are a part of; we are pretty good at telling our stories to each other,” said 2014 jury member Nicolas Brown. “We watch some sick action— and get totally stoked. However, sometimes we are less effective telling our stories to the rest of the world. This film tells an epic tale, giving us larger than life characters whose lives play out on a vast stage. The result is a work that will inspire not just climbers but the world at large.”

Created 39 years ago, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The Festival showcases the world’s best films, books, and photographs on mountain subjects – climbing, culture, environment, exploration and adventure, and sport – and attracts the biggest names in mountaineering, adventure filmmaking, and extreme sports as presenters and speakers. 84 films were screened during the nine-day festival and an international jury awarded more than $50,000 in cash and prizes in 13 categories.

Category winners for the 2014 Banff Mountain Film Competition include:

Grand Prize—Sponsored by MEC

Valley Uprising
Director: Nick Rosen, Peter Mortimer, Josh Lowell
Producer: Zachary Barr
Production Company: Sender Films

Creative Excellence Award- Sponsored by SOLE

El Sendero Luminoso Director: Renan Ozturk
Producer: Aimee Tetreault
Production Company: Camp4 Collective

Best Film – Exploration and Adventure – Sponsored by MSR

And Then We Swam Director: Ben Finney
Producer: Robb Ellender

Best Film – Mountain Culture Sponsored by Helly Hansen

Tashi & the Monk
Director: Andrew Hinton, Johnny Burke
Production Company: Pilgrim Films

Best Film – Climbing Sponsored by the Alpine Club of Canada

Cerro Torre: A Snowball’s Chance in Hell Director: Thomas Dirnhofer Producer: Philipp Manderla*
Production Company: Red Bull Media House GmbH

Best Film – Mountain Sports- Sponsored by Live Out There

Little Red Bus (Petit Bus Rouge)
Director and Producer: Sébastien Montaz-Rosset
Production Company: Montaz-Rosset Film

Best Film: Snow Sports – Sponsored by Oboz Footwear

The Crash Reel
Director: Lucy  Walker
Producer: Julian Cautherley
Production Company: KP Rides Again LLC

Best Film – Mountain Environment and Natural History – Sponsored by Film Festival Flix

NATURE: Touching the Wild

Director and Producer: David Allen
Production Company: Passion Planet, THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET

Best Short Mountain Film – Sponsored by The North Face

Delta Dawn
Director and Producer: Peter McBride
Production Company: Peter McBride Productions

Best Feature Length Mountain Film – Sponsored by the Town of Banff

Marmato

Director: Mark Grieco
Producer: Stuart Reid
Production Company: Calle Films

Special Jury Mention

Jungwa: The Broken Balance

Director: Stanzin Dorjai Gya, Christiane Mordelet
Producer: Barra Muriel
Production Company: Lato Sensu Productions

People’s Choice Award for Radical Reels – Sponsored by Deuter

Sufferfest 2: Desert Alpine

Director and Producer: Cedar Wright*

People’s Choice Award – Sponsored by Treksta

Mending the Line Director Steve Engman, Producer John Waller. Production Company: Uncage the Soul Productions.

Jury members in 2014 included Swiss journalist and producer Benoît Aymon, multiple award-winning producer and director Nicolas Brown, former Programming Director for the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival Joni Cooper,  American alpinist Mark Synnott and Shirley Vercruysse, Executive Producer of the National Film Board of Canada.

The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is presented by National Geographic and The North Face, and sponsored by Deuter, Bergans of Norway, Clif Bar, Cushe Footwear, Icebreaker Merino and Banff Lake Louise Tourism with support from Mammut, MSR/Mountain Safety Research, PETZL, World Expeditions, Kicking Horse Coffee, The Lake Louise Ski Resort, MEC, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

Finding Inspiration at the Banff Mountain Book Festival

Considering the quantity of sold out events this year at the Banff Mountain Book Festival, I think it’s safe to say that it is no longer a best-kept secret, and no longer the ‘little sister’ to the Banff Mountain Film Festival. On a more personal note, the book festival has always been my favourite part of the festivals – not only because it offers a more intimate experience, but also because words are my medium of choice, the way I process information, my lifeline.

As a writer, the Banff Mountain Book Festival encourages me to dig deeper, to find the story really worth telling and to continue sharpening my skills so that perhaps one year it will be me up on that stage presenting my own book. But for now I’m content to learn from others, to absorb from a seat in the audience, and bring the stories of others to you.

I can’t recap the entire book festival, but the events today offered a particularly good mix of topics and styles. They also brought with them lessons we can apply to our own lives, which I’ll summarize here:

The Calling.Barry Blanchard kicked off the with the presentation of his book, The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains. I was familiar with his book, having reviewed it for The Campsite a few weeks ago, but it was refreshing to hear him reading his own words. In fact, the book read better aloud than it did in my head, and listening to Barry gave the stories new life and the audience an opportunity to laugh. It is clear the crowd – a home crowd for Barry – simply loves this man, and that spoke as loud as his words. One thing I learned from Barry, both through his climbing stories and his account of challenges writing the book, is the importance of perseverance. If you eventually want to see something in print, you need to work away at it, letter by letter, word by word.

Paddlenorth.Next, author Jennifer Kingsley presented her book, Paddlenorth – an account of a 54-day, 1100-kilometre journey she made with friends on the Baillie and Back Rivers in Nunavut. While she didn’t intend to write a book about the trip, the experience motivated her to do so. She didn’t reveal too much about her book (I’ll have to read it!), however a few things she said caught my attention. First, she made a comment about how modern travel allows you to get from one destination to another very quickly, but that does not mean that you have caught up emotionally and psychologically. This also ties into a comment she made about returning home from such a voyage: “This is the kind of trip that when I got home, it wouldn’t lie down,” she said. Having been on a few longer stints of travel, I can relate to both of these comments – to needing time to catch up to my destination and needing time to unravel the threads of the experience once I’m home.

Great Bear Wild.Finally, photographer, conservationist, and author of Great Bear Wild, Ian McAllister, took the stand. I was familiar with McAllister’s incredible photographs, just not the stories behind them. Walking the audience through the backstories of his images, McAllister conveyed a deeper understanding of these magnificent creatures. By explaining their contexts through human analogies, I could relate to the wildlife in a way I never had before. I appreciated these stories because these are the creatures and habitats (alongside First Nations communities) under threat due to the plans to build the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Through McAllister I learned that the Great Bear Rainforest is actually an area that is seeing regeneration and a resurgence of life. It would be a shame to see that compromised. Be sure to check out PacificWild.org for more information on what you can do about that.

The festival doesn’t wrap up until Sunday night, so be sure to check out the Banff Mountain Festivals to snag any remaining tickets.

Keep following along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for dispatches from the field!